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Baghdad, Erbil discuss resuming oil exports from northern Iraq

Baghdad ( – Iraqi officials in the oil sector met on Sunday with officials from Iraqi Kurdistan and representatives of oil companies to discuss the resumption of oil exports through a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Since March 2023, crude oil flows along the Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline, which formerly transported around 0.5 percent of the world’s oil supply, have been suspended due to legal and financial uncertainty.

Sunday’s meeting in Baghdad, which was attended by Iraqi Oil Minister Hayan Abdul-Ghani and officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), followed an invitation sent by the Iraqi Oil Ministry last month to the Kurdish authorities and international oil firms to meet and discuss the resumption of oil exports from northern Iraq, according to Sky News Arabia.

A senior official in the Ministry of Oil said that it is still too early to say that a final agreement has been reached. “But we can say that the meeting has many positive aspects,” the official indicated.

One of the main sources of conflict between the federal government in Baghdad and the KRG is the distribution of oil revenues.

After the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris decided in March 2023 that Ankara had broken a 1973 treaty by enabling oil exports without the federal government’s approval, flows via the Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline were stopped.

In early June, the Association of the Petroleum Industry of Kurdistan (APIKUR) refuted recent media reports that incorrectly attribute the ongoing dispute over the resumption of oil exports via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline to the inflexibility of foreign oil firms.

Media reports said that ongoing negotiations have come to a stop because international oil companies operating in Iraqi Kurdistan have adopted an inflexible stance. However, since January 2024, there haven’t been any coordinated talks between foreign oil firms, officials from the Iraqi government, and the KRG.

Several foreign oil companies operating in Iraqi Kurdistan have stopped production, and shipments have not yet resumed despite multiple discussions between officials in Iraqi Kurdistan, the federal government in Baghdad, and Turkish authorities.

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